It’s very nearly the weekend, and I’ve got a cracker of a wedding to end the week. There’s something so romantic about winter weddings, with roaring fires and mulled wine, especially when it’s held in a Scottish stately home coated in snow.
Mhairi and Ross live in Hong Kong but came back home to Scotland for their wedding at Hopetoun House near Edinburgh. With such a grand venue a lot of thought was put into the décor and flowers. The result was a classic, stylish day with fur and mulled wine making it feel cozy against the January chill. Mhairi was inspired by the 1920’s and 30’s, incorporating art deco designs into the stationery and cake. She combined an understated Amanda Wakeley gown with marcel waves, bright red lipstick and the most wonderful statement headpiece.
As if organising a wedding from the other side of the world isn’t complicated enough Mhairi made the beautiful gold and black bridesmaid dresses, as well as her earrings…
“I am a sucker for glitz and glamour, any excuse for a full-length dress and sky-high heels! Yes, I’m the one who you can always rely on to be overdressed for any occasion! I love everything vintage, and although that sounds like a bit of a cliché for weddings these days I knew that would end up inspiring the style of the day. When I started looking at wedding dresses the ones I was drawn to were all 1920s/30s inspired shapes and styling, and this era also felt like it fitted in really well at our venue. Not to mention the fact that I had always wanted to wear my hair in marcel waves.”
Photography Copyright (c) 2015, Nikki Leadbetter
“It was really comfortable and a lot more understated than I would normally go for but I loved the detailing and the layers of soft silk fabric at the back were amazing. I just felt comfortable and it had the sort of silhouette that I wanted without being overtly 1920s/30s. I just knew straight away that it was perfect and as it was quite simple I could envisage dressing it up with spectacular accessories.”
The couple asked old school friend Nikki Leadbetter (whose own, glorious wedding we featured recently) to photograph their wedding, she did a great job of capturing both the grandeur of the venue and the small details of the day.
“Even before we got engaged I had at the back of my mind that I would like to have Nikki photograph my wedding. I love her style and the way that she catches moments to document the day, nothing too styled or posed. Having Nikki there on the day was great, she is so relaxed and made it fun having our photographs taken. We were totally thrilled with the results.”
Hopetoun is a spectacular stately home, on a huge estate on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
“We went to see a number of lovely venues but as soon as we came through the gates and started up the long driveway to Hopetoun I knew that it was the venue we would choose. It is such a stunningly grand house set in a beautiful location on the edge of the River Forth, I could immediately picture us getting married there.
It was important that we chose a venue that let us put out own stamp on the day. I am a naturally creative person and wanted to be able to put as many of our own touches and choices into things as possible. Hopetoun has a lot of it’s own historic features and a definite character but at the same time it was obvious from our first meeting that they would be very willing to accommodate and help us to achieve almost anything we wanted.”
“We had decided to get married in winter because it is so hard to know what weather you are going to get at any time of year in the UK! Also we were eager to get tie the knot and didn’t want to wait longer than a year. A winter wedding felt really romantic to both of us and it meant that we could have roaring fires and lots of candles. The gold and black colour palette seemed the perfect choice for the time of year and the style that we were trying to achieve.”
I love a bouquet with feathers in, just one of the imaginative touches from Gemma at Planet Flowers.
“We really wanted the flowers to bring in another aspect to the colour scheme and to bring a bit of warmth. Black calla lilies are one of my favourite flowers and we chose to include phalaenopsis orchids to add a bit of an Asian link. The ballroom at Hopetoun is big with really high ceilings so substantial flower displays can end up looking quite small. Gemma at Planet recommended doing something quite simple and structural using really large vases of different heights on the tables. This worked really well, especially when it got dark and the candles were lit as they cast some lovely shadows.”
Dressmaking is something I’ve always been incredibly impressed by, so I’m in awe of Mhairi making the stunning bridesmaid dresses.
“Having been brought up learning to sew and then studying a textile design degree dressmaking has always been something that I do in my spare time. I had a brief look at some of the bridesmaid dresses on offer online but I never really considered going down that route. Making them myself meant that I could choose really nice quality silk in the exact colours to match our scheme and could make them exactly as I wanted.”
And Mhairi certainly did choose wonderful accessories, with a soft tulle veil and hair piece made by Rachel Scott, if I was Mhairi I’d be tempted to wear it every day!
“I told Rachel how I was planning to style my hair, the colours that I wanted and left the rest up to her. I absolutely love what she came up with! It was enough of a statement piece but without detracting from any of the other details of my outfit and hair.”
The hairpiece looked even better when matched with glamorous marcel waves, created by Sonya from Boombarbers in Edinburgh.
“Sonya was fantastic, understanding exactly the look that I wanted. She admitted she was a bit out of practice at creating marcel waves, but spent time between my trial and the wedding day practicing them and my hair on the day was perfect. I could not have been more happy with it.”
There is something magical about snow, how it makes everything look so peaceful and romantic, perfect for a wedding.
“We were so lucky that we got fantastic winter weather, I couldn’t quite believe it when I woke up on the morning of the wedding and there was a covering of crisp white snow everywhere and the sun was starting to shine. This helped to make the day even more perfect but I’m sure that it would still have been fantastic if it had been chucking it down with rain!”
Ross and Mhairi met ten years ago at University…
“We met through a mutual friend who actually introduced us for the first time at T in the Park. Our first conversation was over a pint of cider and blackcurrant out of a plastic cup, classy! There were a number of strange coincidences and it became apparent that it was incredible that we hadn’t actually met before, Ross at that time was living about 200 yards away from me, just around the corner in the centre of Aberdeen.
Ross and I now live in Hong Kong but are both Scottish born and bred, our families still all live in Scotland and neither of us could imagine getting married anywhere else. Living in Asia we know a lot of couples who have decided to have Asian destination weddings, and we have been to some beautiful beach weddings, but for us it just didn’t feel right to get married anywhere else but at home.“
With a wedding in a Scottish stately home there was only one choice for Ross and his groomsmen…
“Ross originally was going to wear his own kilt which is his family tartan but after choosing the lovely grey tartan and grey tweed jackets for the groomsmen he decided that it just wouldn’t look that right if he was in a different tartan (Campbell tartan is primarily green). So all the guys ended up wearing the same kilt outfits which we hired from McCalls Highlandwear. They looked very smart and it tied in well with the gold and black colours that the girls wore.”
Mhairi and Ross had a traditional, religious ceremony that begun with Mhairi walking down the aisle with her Dad accompanied by Pachelbel Canon in D.
“I loved the whole day but my favorite part was the ceremony itself. After all the build up and anticipation, walking into the room and seeing Ross waiting at the bottom of the aisle for me, with all our guests there for us was really special. I just couldn’t take the smile off my face.”
“We made more origami hearts as escort cards, they were all individually hand stamped with each guest’s name and table and Planet Flowers displayed them beautifully with flowers at the entrance to the reception. I also made scrolled hearts hand stamped with each person’s name for the place settings which were hung over each wine glass.”
one very important to us.”
“In such a big reception room it was important to get all the big choices right so we took a lot of time choosing the black table linen, gold chairs and gold charger plates. These along with the flower arrangements and candles created the overall look that we wanted for the room. We then added as many small diy details as we could to personalize things.”
“We both love our food and really wanted something that was very tasty and appropriate for the fact that it was January. Comforting winter food! As our main course we had braised venison which was absolutely delicious and got lots of complements. Since there was snow outside and roaring log fires inside the venison seemed like the perfect dish. Yum, wish I could eat it again right now!
We didn’t want anyone to get hungry later on so, during a break in the dancing, we served a traditional supper of haggis and stovies which was a big hit with those who had travelled from outside Scotland.”
I am a huge cook book fan so I was kicking myself that I didn’t think of their brilliant idea for favours.
“Ross and I are both big foodies; cooking is one of my passions, eating is one of Ross’s! We wanted to give something for our favours that was a memento of our day but was also something useful and something that said something about us as a couple. We decided that we would design a small cook book that included some of our favourite recipes. The first page was the menu for the wedding breakfast and then it was followed by about 10 of our favourite recipes with some food quotes and anecdotes thrown in. Our guests seemed to really appreciate it and it was great after the wedding when people would send us a message to let us know that they had tried one of our recipes and enjoyed it.”
“I had the most amazing day and the only thing that was really important to me at the end of it was that I had married my best friend. But I am the sort of person who over analyses things and will always think of ways to improve things. So if I were to do it again I would probably do more, more DIY and more décor. I think I felt a bit limited by the fact that I was living so far away from my venue. I also got a bit bogged down in researching and looking at other peoples weddings therefore losing sight of original ideas.”
The art deco era inspired the ornate wedding cake, which was real labour of love.
“My amazing best friend and maid of honour made our wedding cake as her wedding gift to us. We came up with the design together to incorporate the motif that I had designed for the stationery and I decided that I really wanted icing roses on the alternating tiers. This seemed like a good idea at the start but I think Kim was cursing me by the time she had made over 300 of them! The cake looked and tasted fantastic though and it was so special to us because it had been made by someone so special to us.”
Words of Wedded Wisdom
“Don’t be swayed by what anyone else thinks. Wedding planning is one of those times when everyone has an opinion and it is very easy to become preoccupied by what other people think. Sit down at the beginning of the process and make a note of the things that are most important to you and the things that you think you can live without. Set a budget and try to make sure you stick to it. I found this really difficult as it is very easy to get carried away in all the excitement and pretty wedding things.
At the end of the day it is important to remember why you are doing it and to make sure you don’t end up regretting things afterwards because you are left paying off debts.”
What a wonderful winter wonderland! Thanks very much to Mhairi and Ross, and to Nikki for sharing it with us.
I hope you all have a love filled weekend, hopefully we’ll be welcoming a few more brides-to-be on Monday morning 😉
Lots of love,
Photographer – Nikki Leadbetter
Venue – Hopetoun House near Edinburgh
Bride’s Dress – Amanda Wakeley via Rachel Scott Couture
Bride’s Hair Piece – Rachel Scott Couture
Bride’s Shoes – Valentino purchased from Lane Crawford
Bridesmaid’s Hair Pieces – Rene Walrus
Fur Wrap – Vintage via Etsy
Groom’s Kilt – McCalls Highlandwear
Florist – Planet Flowers
Engagement Ring – Tayma Fine Jewellery
Stationery – Printed by Joyscard
Catering – Heritage Portfolio
Makeup – Amy Irving
Hair – Sonya at Boombarbers
Entertainment – David Farrell and Corra